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Results: 1 - 15 of 164
View Jennifer O'Connell Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to table a petition signed by my constituents. The petition calls on the Government of Canada to condemn the national register of Indian citizens and national population register in India, and any excessive use of force by its police. It also asks the government to demand the withdrawal of India's Citizenship Amendment Act, national register of Indian citizens and national population register.
View Salma Zahid Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Salma Zahid Profile
2020-03-11 15:16 [p.1938]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to present petition e-2391, which is signed by over 4,000 people from across Canada who are concerned about amendments made to the Citizenship Act by the Government of India that make religion a criterion for nationality and discriminate against some religious minorities, such as Muslims. The petitioners are also concerned that the criteria of the National Register of Citizens may make marginalized minorities stateless, as they are more likely to be unable to prove their identity and status.
The petitioners call upon this House to condemn these measures, to demand their withdrawal and to condemn the excessive use of force by the police against the peaceful citizens of India.
View Sylvie Bérubé Profile
BQ (QC)
moved for leave to introduce Bill C-223, an act to amend the Citizenship Act with respect to adequate knowledge of French in Quebec.
She said: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to introduce my first bill in the House of Commons, a bill seconded by the member for La Pointe-de-l'Île.
This bill amends the Citizenship Act to require that permanent residents who ordinarily reside in Quebec must have an adequate knowledge of French in order to obtain citizenship.
In Gilles Vigneault's masterfully chosen words, “The Francophonie is a vast, unbounded land, the realm of the French language. It exists within us. It is the invisible, spiritual, mental and emotional homeland within each one of you.”
I thank the House for its support.
View Marco Mendicino Profile
Lib. (ON)
moved that Bill C-6, An Act to amend the Citizenship Act (Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's call to action number 94), be read the second time and referred to a committee.
He said: Mr. Speaker, I begin by acknowledging that we are on the traditional territory of the Algonquin nation.
Today I have the privilege of speaking to Bill C-6, which is an act to amend the Citizenship Act. When passed into law, this legislation will amend the oath of citizenship to ensure indigenous peoples have their right place within the solemn declaration made by newcomers as they are welcomed to the Canadian family.
The purpose of this bill is to continue to fulfill our government's commitment to implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's calls to action, specifically call to action number 94. As members will know, identical legislation was tabled in the last Parliament; however, we were not able to advance it before dissolution.
I want to explain why I think it is important to highlight this. The government proposed this amendment some time ago, almost a year ago, in fact, as part of our overall efforts to significantly advance reconciliation.
This is hard work. The renewal of the relationship with indigenous peoples must be based on a recognition of rights, respect, co-operation and partnership. We have wed ourselves to these principles to foster collaboration in the creation of new laws and policies that will, among other things, protect indigenous languages, traditions and institutions.
Do these advancements mean our work is done? Of course not. Recent events illustrate that the issues that remain to be resolved are both complex and urgent. Equally, we cannot allow ourselves to go backward.
I hope we will use this moment as an opportunity to have a constructive debate on this bill, starting with an all-party agreement that the amendments it proposes to the Citizenship Act are one more vital step towards reconciliation.
Before discussing the substance of the legislation, I believe it is important to provide the historical context that gave rise to call to action number 94.
As was said at the time of the initial publication of the TRC report, too many Canadians know too little or nothing at all about the tragedy of the residential schools. This deficit of public awareness regarding the systemic way in which indigenous children were forcibly torn from their families has had serious consequences. Previously shamed into silence, thousands of survivors painfully shared their residential school experiences with the commission. This helped to start an important dialogue about what is necessary to heal.
We, as Canadians, have much to learn from listening to their voices. It is in this spirit of sharing, knowledge and learning that we put forward this bill to ensure that new Canadians begin to understand the history of indigenous peoples as a part of our country's fabric at their inception as citizens. The stories of first nations, Inuit and Métis are the story of Canada itself.
That is why the approach we are taking with this new oath is so important. The action we are proposing today is one more step towards rebuilding a once harmonious relationship.
As Senator Murray Sinclair said:
Actions speak louder than words. The reality is that we're...looking for action that shows leadership, that causes people to sit up and take notice and recognize that there is an important process under way here that they have to be part of.
With this bill, we are taking a step to respond to Senator Sinclair's exhortation by modifying the oath of citizenship to be more inclusive and to help fundamentally transform the nature of our relationship with indigenous peoples.
For hundreds of years, even before the residential schools, indigenous peoples faced discrimination in every aspect of their lives. Our government firmly believes that we must acknowledge the injustices of the past and envision a new relationship based on the inherent rights of indigenous peoples. The bill we have put forward today helps to lay the foundation for that journey.
Once adopted, the new oath of citizenship will read as follows:
I swear (or affirm) that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada, including the Constitution, which recognizes and affirms the Aboriginal and treaty rights of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, and fulfil my duties as a Canadian citizen.
In arriving at this language, I would note that the government engaged indigenous leaders, including the national indigenous organizations. My department began consultations in 2016 with the Assembly of First Nations, the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and the Métis National Council. In addition, we also engaged with members of the Land Claims Agreements Coalition, an organization that represents indigenous modern treaty organizations and governments in Canada.
While all three organizations generally support the intent behind the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's call to action, it was clear that further efforts were needed to make the oath as precise and inclusive as possible.
In summarizing our consultation, there were diverse views with regard to language. However, it is our sincere belief that the wording put forth in this bill reflects our best efforts to be inclusive of first nations, Inuit and Métis experiences, responding not only to call to action number 94 but to the substance of what my department heard throughout our consultations. In so doing, we put forward to the House today a proposed oath of citizenship that introduces and instills the principle of reconciliation among our new citizens.
Canada has been shaped by the contributions of immigrants over many generations. Travelling this country far and wide, one would be hard pressed to find a family whose journey did not start abroad. For many, becoming a citizen is a significant milestone on this journey. Indeed, nearly 85% of newcomers become citizens. Over the last decade, Canada has welcomed nearly 1.7 million new citizens. In my short time as minister, I have already had a number of opportunities to participate in citizenship ceremonies right across Canada, and I can tell members that is among the most emotional, moving and special functions I get to engage in.
I get to see the pride on the faces of new citizens and how this oath represents a major commitment as part of their journey to settle in a new country.
The oath is a very public declaration and an integral part of the citizenship process. It consecrates a commitment to equality, diversity and respect within an open and free society. In addition, by taking the oath, new citizens inherit the legacy of those who have come before them and the values that have defined the character of Canada. When a newcomer becomes Canadian, our history becomes their history and their history becomes part of ours. Now, that shared history will also ensure that newcomers recognize and affirm the rights and treaties of indigenous peoples. The histories of indigenous peoples in Canada are diverse and an integral part of Canada's past, present and future.
It has been a long road, and we still have a lot of work to do. The purpose of this bill is twofold. First, our goal is to ensure that new Canadians recognize indigenous peoples' significant contributions to Canada. The government is also reaffirming its commitment to reconciliation and a renewed relationship with indigenous peoples.
We must keep moving forward together.
We have listened and learned. We are working together to take concrete measures to build a better future and a new relationship, and that includes recognizing indigenous peoples in the citizenship oath.
Our goal is to achieve a fundamental and profound shift in the relationship with indigenous peoples. However, this transformation will take mutual respect, determination and patience.
It will mean listening to and learning from indigenous partners, communities and youth, and acting decisively on what we have heard, which is to build trust and healing. It will also mean doing everything we can to support the inherent right to self-determination of indigenous peoples that will lead us all to a better future.
We can and will build a better Canada together, but we can only do this in full, honest partnership with indigenous peoples who truly know best when it comes to their own communities.
I want to end by acknowledging that this has been a challenging time. However, this legislation represents a significant opportunity to find a better way forward.
I look forward to working with all members of the House. It is my sincere hope that we will find a common cause to support this legislation, which represents an important and modest step forward on the path to reconciliation.
View Rachel Blaney Profile
NDP (BC)
Madam Speaker, I am struggling a bit today. In the last Parliament I was part of the indigenous and northern affairs committee. We did a lot of work on a previous bill around making sure that indigenous children in care were taken care of properly. We know that the Human Rights Tribunal has stated repeatedly that indigenous children are not being treated the same as every other child in this country.
We are here today to talk about call to action number 94. In reality, in 2017 it was in the mandate letter for the minister at the time to deal with it. It is now 2020 and we finally have it here. I am going to support this legislation.
I am wondering how long it is going to take to look at reconciliation not just through these important parts, but the actual fundamental rights of first nations children in this country.
View Marco Mendicino Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague for her work and for her advocacy. When it comes to reconciliation, it is well known.
I also want to express my gratitude to her for her support of the bill. It is my sincere hope that she will be able to encourage all members of the House to support this legislation. Her voice matters.
With regard to the member's comments around the provision of health care to indigenous children in particular, my colleagues the Minister of Indigenous Services and the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations are making progress on that front. Clearly, there is more work to be done.
With respect to the timing of the bill, as I reflected during my remarks, this legislation was introduced some months ago. The foundation for today's debate has been laid. Obviously, the passage of the bill is long overdue and it is my hope that we will take a step forward to achieve that goal throughout the course of today and in the coming weeks and months.
View Alistair MacGregor Profile
NDP (BC)
Madam Speaker, I will echo the member for North Island—Powell River. We will be supporting this legislation.
With all due respect to the minister, changing the citizenship oath and affirmation is really the low-hanging fruit in the long, hard path towards reconciliation that we as a nation must walk.
Walking backward and looking at the timeline, we had the Truth and Reconciliation Commission with its calls to action in 2015. We had the minister's mandate letter in 2017. This bill is relatively simple, numbering maybe two pages.
I will ask the minister again. How is it that the Liberal government has taken this long? We are in 2020 and are just now seeing a bill of this order coming before us and not yet passed into law.
View Marco Mendicino Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, I do appreciate the sense of urgency in the tone of the member's question. He is quite right. There is no time for us to move backward. We must continue to move forward.
That is why, among the very first initiatives that I have taken in the short time since being sworn in as minister, I have put the bill forward. It is not to be seen as a panacea or as a cure-all but as a step forward. I am encouraged by the member's comments around support for the bill. I would continue to encourage him to exhort others to come around to expressing their support for this legislation, because the sooner we can hear those voices come to this floor, the sooner we can pass it into law. That is definitely my intention.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2020-02-24 11:18 [p.1401]
Madam Speaker, I want to thank the minister for recognizing the importance of the call to action. There were 94 recommendations that came forward. When I reflect on the last four or five years, we have seen the Government of Canada take action on a number of them.
The previous question made reference to your ministry. We have seen the language—
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2020-02-24 11:19 [p.1401]
Madam Speaker, was it a beginner's mistake?
At the end of the day, the government has taken substantial action on the calls for action for truth and reconciliation. We have the language heritage bill. We have had legislation dealing with the thousands of children who are in child custody. Now we have yet another piece of the puzzle, if I can put it that way.
Could the minister reflect on how important it is for us to take a look at the bigger picture and how the government has, virtually from day one, treated this issue very seriously? Does he think this is just one piece of the puzzle toward reconciliation?
View Marco Mendicino Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, there are few among us who think that my hon. colleague is a beginner.
I appreciate his comment because it allows me to expand for a moment on the broader context here, which I think is important for us to remember.
The bill would ensure that new Canadians are able to begin to fully appreciate the right place of indigenous peoples as part of the fabric of this country. This is a direct response to call to action No. 94, which our government committed to implementing along with all of the others that were released in 2015.
As my colleague pointed out, progress has been made in some other areas, particularly with regard to the protection and revitalization of indigenous languages and with legislation that will ensure that the best interests of indigenous children are reflected in the family court system. That has been incredibly important, along with other progress made around ensuring that indigenous communities have access to safe and clean water.
This is one step. It is part of many steps that have to be made, which we will achieve together toward reconciliation.
View Kyle Seeback Profile
CPC (ON)
View Kyle Seeback Profile
2020-02-24 11:22 [p.1402]
Madam Speaker, recommendation no. 94 from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission suggested that four words be inserted into the citizenship oath. I am going to cut and splice here for the sake of time. It says, “I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada including”, and here is what is inserted: “Treaties with Indigenous Peoples, and fulfil my duties as a Canadian citizen.”
Why is the government freelancing on this recommendation by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, adding in things that were not included in the recommendation?
View Marco Mendicino Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, my hon. colleague makes a good point in that there is a distinction between the language used and the exact language that was put forward in call to action No. 94, but it is far from freelancing.
As I indicated, my department engaged in consultations with national indigenous organizations and indigenous leaders across this country. Through the exchange of those perspectives, we felt the revised language that I read into the record today, which is reflected in the text of the bill, would ensure more inclusivity when it comes to the experiences of first nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. Obviously, those efforts were made with the best of intentions, and I look forward to debating it.
Certainly my hope is that the member and his party will come around to supporting the bill.
View Jenny Kwan Profile
NDP (BC)
View Jenny Kwan Profile
2020-02-24 11:23 [p.1402]
Madam Speaker, the bill amends the citizenship oath to let new Canadians know that they should recognize the rights of indigenous peoples. However, we have a situation today in which the government is clearly not recognizing the rights of indigenous peoples and not respecting section 35 of the Constitution.
How can we go forward with this when the government is not actually following its own words?
View Marco Mendicino Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, as I acknowledged, we are indeed in a difficult situation right now. It goes without saying that we all want a peaceful de-escalation when it comes to the blockades. At the same time, however, this government has continued to make efforts to engage in constructive dialogue with indigenous peoples. The Prime Minister and ministers have engaged with our partners right across the country.
We also have to bear in mind that there are serious concerns, as long as these blockades continue, with regard to the safety of indigenous peoples and Canadians right across the country, with regard to ensuring we resume shipments of essential resources and, finally, with regard to jobs.
I certainly hope that I can count on my colleague to come around to support the bill, as it is one step in creating a space to advance meaningful reconciliation.
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